Tools of the Trade

FOCUSRITE FORTE SUITE The newest plug-ins from Focusrite (dist. by Digidesign,, the Forte Suite for Pro Tools models the ISA 110 EQ and ISA 130 dynamics processors, which are two-key modules from Focusrite's Forte analog console.


The newest plug-ins from Focusrite (dist. by Digidesign,, the Forte Suite for Pro Toolsmodels the ISA 110 EQ and ISA 130 dynamics processors, which aretwo-key modules from Focusrite's Forte analog console. The Suiteincludes a 6-band EQ, compressor, gate and expander. To keep screenclutter at a minimum, Forte is scalable, offering the ability to usethe modules together as a channel strip or as separate components. Forsessions larger than stereo, the ISA 130 compressor supports all ProTools surround formats. The Forte Suite supports TDM and RTAS on Mac OSX and Windows XP.


The Two-Can from Coyote R&D ( is a turnkey, two-rackspace audioworkstation with room for three internal hard drives. The base unitincludes one serial port, one parallel port, one VGA output port, one10/100 Base-T Ethernet port, three FireWire ports, four USB ports and512 MB of RAM. The unit is optimized for audio and suitable for runningsequencers, DAWs, soft synths and samplers. Prices start at $1,595;many upgrades are available.


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Pearl (dist. by Independent Audio, takes rectangular miccapsules to new extremes with the figure-8 ELM-B ($2,425) and cardioidELM-C ($2,000). The black-chrome — finished mics feature a 7:1length/width capsule ratio, with more than twice the surface area oflarge-diameter round capsules, and offer a 12dBA self-noise and none ofthe in-band resonance found in more traditional designs.


PreSonus ( debuts the AD192, an optionaldigital output card for the Eureka pro recording channel. The new cardfeatures word clock I/O, AES and S/PDIF outputs; 24-bit wordlength; andsample rates of 44.1/48/96/192k. A balanced TRS line input is alsoincluded so that only one AD192 is needed to use two Eurekas indual-mono or stereo applications. Price: $250.


Unveiled at NAB, the Symetrix 6200 ( is a dual-channel,DSP-driven voice processor offering complete signal processing of micor line-level signals, in dual-mono or stereo. Processing blocks can beedited from the front panel or from a Windows-based GUI accessed viaUSB or Ethernet. Processes include filtering, parametric EQ,compression, de-essing, gating, room simulation and more. The 6200 alsosupports HomerLink, an interconnect protocol that's compatible with theStudio Matrix system.


Monster Power's ( Pro AVS2000 rack-mountableautomatic voltage stabilizer provides maximum protection from voltagesags and a consistent 120V output, even if AC input fluctuates. The$1,700 unit features sequential power-up with programmable delay,illuminated digital meters for monitoring voltage/amperage/correction,a warning light indicating any serious power fluctuations and sixoutlets.

MACKIE dXb•400

Aimed at pro recording and post, the latest version of the Mackie( XSeries digital console features a 96×96 channel I/O matrix(48×48 at 192 kHz) and 72 channels of EQ and dynamics at 96 kHz(36 channels with DSP at 192 kHz). The dXb•400 improves on the•200 by offering more advanced surround sound functionality,including 24 buses, flexible panning assignment and full surroundmonitoring features. The standard UAD-1 DSP card offers access to awide variety of plug-ins.


Loop/sound effect/sample creator PowerFX ( Miracle Beats, a $99 sample CD/VST instrument combo. A LoopMorphfeature takes individual slices of drum loops and automatically splitseach drum kit element onto individual tracks with each slice. Thecollection contains more than 500 beats and a unique VST instrumentinterface, allowing complete creation, control and manipulation of beatloops.


The 8-channel Octane mic preamp from M-Audio ( isdesigned as a front end for any Lightpipe-compatible hard diskrecorder. The $749.95 unit features an M-S matrix encoder, analogdirect outs for each channel, word clock and 44.1/48kHz operation at24-bit. I/O is balanced XLR and TRS; phantom power is switchable ingroups of eight channels.


The Audix ( I-5 is a dynamic cardioidinstrument mic for stage and studio, with a durable cast-zinc alloybody, dent-resistant grille and black E-coat finish. Every model islaser-etched with its model and serial number. Frequency response is50-16k Hz, and SPL handling exceeds 140 dB. Retail: $179 with mic clipand carry pouch.


Carrying on in the ViPRE mold, Groove Tubes ( offers the Glory Comp, anall-tube compressor employing seven vacuum tubes. Features includedual-isolated output taps and a custom-wound output transformer forinterfacing with -10dBV or +4dBu gear. Controls include 1:1 to 10:1ratios, attack and threshold controls, and 10ms to two-second releasetimes. Users can select between logarithmic and linear release modes,and, like ViPRE, can view the backlit VU meter in seven differentmodes. Price: $2,999.


The “too tall” nature of Apple's Mac G5 is solved withMarathon's ( rackmount solution. The$199 G5 Rackmount places up to two G5s side-by-side in 12 verticalrackspaces. The mount is constructed of heavy-duty aircraft aluminum,has rigid cross-bracing to prevent sagging, fits rack depths from 19 to34 inches and does not require modifying the G5 case.


The PHA-979 from Voxengo ( is a PC VST plug-in that letsusers apply an arbitrary phase shift to a DAW audio track. The $39plug-in will simultaneously shift all frequencies across the signal'sactive frequency range by the given phase-shift value. Features includephase control for each channel, two quality modes, mono-to-stereo orstereo-to-stereo processing, and support for up to 96 kHz.


TerraSonde's ( new Studio Toolbox offerspowerful audio tools in a compact package. Features include a graphicalbacklit 64×128 LCD, encoder input control, mic and built-inspeaker. I/O is on balanced XLR and 1¼4-inch jacks, in addition tounbalanced RCA and MIDI I/O. All graphical functions can be assigned to40 nonvolatile memories and transferred to a PC or Mac for printing.Also featured is a level meter, transport controller, SMPTEreader/fault detector/jam sync, cable tester (MIDI and audio), phasealignment test and more. The unit is AC or battery-powered and pricedat $899.


Gefen's ( FireWire Extender lets audio prosput noisy computers far from the listening environment. The system usesa sender and receiver to transmit data at an average rate of 350 to 400Mbps over multimode, LC-terminated fiber-optic cables. Price is $899,including connection cables and external power supply.


PC users should check out the new Classic Phaser from Kjaerhus (, which emulates analogphasers from the '70s and '80s. The plug offers up to 12 filter stages,a phase shift area between 50 to 20k Hz, mod rate of 0.1 to 10 Hz, fullVST automation and support for sample rates upward of 44.1 kHz.


URS ( now offers two new EQs: the A10(10-band) and N12 (12-band) for Pro Tools. Features include a numericwindow allowing 0.1dB gain adjustments, operation up to 192 kHz, andPro Control, Digi 002 and Control 24. The new plugs are ported forWindows XP and Mac OS 9 to 10.3.2 and are fully TDM-compatible with ProTools | HD Accel, HD and Mix systems (software V. 5.3.1 to 6.2.3); RTASversions will work with MBox, Digi 001 and Digi 002. Sold direct, theplugs are $499 each or $899 for a bundle.


Designed for studio use, Tannoy's ( active TS8 and TS10 subs measureless than one cubic foot in size. The $399 TS8 has a downfiring 8-inchdriver and 200-watt amp; the larger $549 TS10 uses a 10-inchdriver/300W amp combo. The units operate down to 32 Hz and 29 Hz,respectively, and utilize Tannoy's BASH amplifier technology, combiningthe best of Class-D and Class-A/B designs. I/O is on XLRs; the outputcan be selected as either a direct feed or switched to provide an 80Hzhighpass filter.


Like to do it yourself? pcAudioLabs ( lets buyers build their ownaudio-optimized PC online. The company's Website walks buyers through abuilding process, offering a variety of components/features andadvising the user of any potential audio hardware incompatibilities.The company also offers desktop tower models, rackmount systems, miniPC enclosures and laptops.


The $199 Albino 2 synth plug-in from Linplug ( hasa 32-step arpeggiator, three types of oscillators, two separate stereofilter modules with two filter types, four LFOs and a sophisticatedeffects section. The plug is ported for VST (PC and OS X) andAudioUnits (OS X) and requires VST 2.0 or AU-compatible software and aminimum 500MHz host processor.

API Audio ( is shipping its 8200Asumming mixer. The single-rackspace unit offers Solo and Mutefunctions, direct control over level, panning, a balanced insert andtwo aux sends on each of the eight balanced line inputchannels…Applied Acoustic Systems offers Nord Modularusers substantial savings on the Tassman Sound SynthesisStudio, now $199. Also, Nord users can upgrade to Tassman 4 free ofcharge. The offer is available for a limited time at www.applied-acoustics.comCadac releasedVersion 1.07 of its Sound Automation Manager (SAM) software,featuring new multiconsole control capabilities, multilingual versionsupport and enhanced MIDI facilities. Download it free at www.cadac-sound.comIK Multimedia isshipping T-Racks RTAS for PC, AmpliTube and T-Racks AU and VST forMac OS X, and is offering new upgrade prices on its Digidesign Bundle.Visit…Ambient Alchemy, Skillz2 Pay the Billz and Sounds of Unseen Worlds are three new looplibraries from M-Audio ( The new loops offer bass wobbles,digital glitchery and atmospheric signals derived from plants, rocks,fungi and short-wave radio in .REX2, .WAV, .AIFF and Acidized .WAVformats that are stretchable across a tempo range from 80 to 160 bpm.Price: $49.95…The new exclusive distributor for AmbientRecording GmbH products in the United States is SoundDevices (www.sound Ambient makes a full lineof boom poles, mic support accessories, timecode products and miniaturemic solutions…Aimed at the education market and digital musicproduction novices, Steinberg's ( SE is now available as a stand-alone product. SE offers48 audio and unlimited MIDI tracks for $149…Digidesignannounces new Pro Tools LE Factory and Blue Factory bundles. LEFactory bundles either an Mbox, a Digi 002 Rack or a Digi 002 and morethan $2,000 worth of Bomb Factory plug-ins. The LE Blue Factory bundleoffers greater savings and a Pro Tools LE Factory system, Blue Bluebirdmic and accessory kit. Owners of current LE systems can save byexchanging their current system for a Factory system. Visit www.digidesign.comfor details…Quantec, the German audio manufacturer thatbrought you the Yardstick room simulator, is now being exclusivelydistributed in the U.S. by Independent Audio, www.independentaudio.comPropellerhead'sReWire software ( is now supported byTascam's GigaStudio 3. Among many other things, ReWire allowsreal-time streaming of up to 256 audio and up to 4,080 individual MIDIchannels from one audio application to another…ManifoldLabs and Superwave announce the inclusion of theSuperwave P8 in every Plugzilla. Additionally, Superwaveannounced plans to support Plugzilla with its pro line of instrumentplug-ins, including Superwave Performer, Superwave Professional and theforthcoming Superwave P8000. Visit www.plugzilla.comdiscoDSP ( Version 2.0 of its Vertigo additive synth for the PC.New features include advanced CPU optimization (250% faster thanVertigo 1.x), a Spectrogram editor, stretch envelope, Play mode (poly,mono, legato) and improved morphing with time stretch.